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Bereaved fans have rushed to record stores to lay claim to Aaliyah’s last record in huge numbers—so much so that the mass memorial could make the album #1 on next week’s chart.
"AALIYAH" MOURNING FANS’ CHOICE
Eponymous Collection Snapped Up by Shocked, Saddened Masses
With the kind of eerie irony seen too often when budding superstars are cut down before their time, sales of R&B star Aaliyah’s Aaliyah (Blackground) have increased dramatically following the singer’s tragic death last Saturday. Bereaved fans have rushed to record stores to lay claim to Aaliyah’s last record in huge numbers—so much so that the mass memorial could make the album #1 on next week’s chart.

"Aaliyah," out since July 17, was off to a somewhat slow start, but hopes were high that new single "Rock Da Boat"—the video to which the singer died working on—would ignite sales. The album came in at #37 on the last HITS Top 50 Albums chart, logging 37k units and change; mid-week retail reports indicate it will sell about 350k by the end of this week—an astounding 950% increase.

"Aaliyah" is well-stocked at retail, with the initial 400-500k shipment having been bolstered this week by about 325k in reorders, all of which have been fulfilled at this point, according to retail sources.

This sad turn of events throws into question whether Slipknot’s "Iowa" (Roadrunner/IDJ) will debut at #1 on next week’s chart. The best guess as of this writing has both "Aaliyah" and "Iowa" selling at about 350k, meaning the top chart berth could easily go to either album.

With MTV and VH1 airing Aaliyah memorials at regular intervals and the singer’s funeral scheduled for Friday (8/31), the upward trend at retail shows no signs of fading through the rest of the week. An additional leg up for "Aaliyah" is the fact that WalMart stores are not carrying Slipknot (per the chain's policy against stocking stickered product).

Meanwhile, Slipknot's hotly anticipated follow-up to their Platinum-plus '99 debut is selling at a rate that stands to justify all the recent hoopla over their label, Roadrunner, which was eventually snapped up by a very "Wile E." Island Def Jam. So, while some thought the 'Knot might tie off its first week at 500k or more, 350k is certainly worth hanging around for.

Meanwhile, as the Universal Music Group begins to flex its Herculean brawn ahead of a take-no-prisoners fourth quarter, it has no less than three other Top 10 contenders in the street: Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama" (MCA) looks like it will come in between 250k and 300k, making her a lock for the Top Five; Brian McKnight's "Superhero" (Motown) is on track to do upwards of 150k; and Puddle of Mudd's "Come Clean," the debut release on Fred Durst's Flawless/Geffen imprint, is already raising eyebrows with surprisingly strong sales that could total as much as 120k by week's end, making the Southern rockers a cinch for the Top 10.

Equally surprising, however, is that Afroman's "The Good Times" (Universal) appears to be underperforming, looking at this point like it will come in at around 75k—well short of expectations.

Given that the Afroman project is driven by the novelty single, "Because I Got High," which has spread like wildfire through airplay and word-of-mouth, fingers looking to point at a reason for the album's weak sales might very well wag at the Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back soundtrack, which took a 37% jump this week to #21 on the HITS Top 50 Albums Chart on sales of over 50k (for a total of about 90k). That increase must be at least partially credited to Afromania, but because it's all about the single at this point, soundtrack buyers aren't rushing to score "The Good Times" as well. But as luck would have it, both albums are on Universal, so who can complain?

More on these sales stories as they develop—or whenever we wake up, whichever comes first.

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